Some accounting firm owners might be skeptical about the value of accounting practice management software to their bottom line. They view software as a “nice-to-have,” something that might make things a bit easier for the team but ultimately doesn’t have a significant boost on the company’s revenue, since it’s not something clients interact with.
This attitude is misguided on a number of fronts. With the right accounting practice management software, not only can a business save time and money by operating more efficiently, it can better serve the needs of clients by offering them flexibility, versatility and a more rapid response time.
Below are four ways implementing accounting practice management software can help improve your customer satisfaction.
Offers greater visibility
The best software tools today go beyond internal use and offer a sophisticated way for clients to stay updated on relevant matters. Here’s an example from the consumer health world: if you’ve been to any doctor or healthcare provider recently, you’ve probably interacted with a patient portal. This allows you to check in on recent appointments, view prescriptions and charts, and even send messages to your care provider.
Most people would agree this is a much better situation than the traditional patient information flow, where doctors scrawl some mysterious notes on a clipboard and hope they can read them and explain them to you later. The same thing is true for accounting firms: clients like it when they can easily access relevant documents, agreements and invoices from your accounting firm.
Less reliance on meetings and calls
In the post-pandemic era of remote work, it can seem like almost all of our meetings happen virtually. Even if your firm’s team spends time in the office, you still probably take meetings with clients and vendors remotely.
The sad truth is, that many of these meetings are simply in place to explain a basic part of the engagement. Whether it’s a new contract, a document that needs to be filled out, or even the simple collection of a signature, too often we call meetings just to move the engagement forward in a basic yet critical manner.
What if there was a way to avoid these rote meetings, saving everyone time while still letting things progress with clients? With the right accounting practice management software, you can share files and other important documents directly with your clients. There’s no longer a need to schedule a call or meeting just to share or walk through rudimentary documents. Instead, you can upload them to a portal and send a quick email with some notes and additional information that helps their understanding.
Sure, some more traditional clients may still want to speak with you directly about these matters. But many of your more tech-savvy clients will appreciate the time savings just as much as your own team.
More accommodating for client schedules
Another excellent benefit of accounting practice management software is it allows clients to handle tasks related to your engagement on their own schedule. They don’t need to worry about reaching you during business hours to review your latest invoice, or hope you have time to remind them of how long they have to return internal accounting records.
Practice management software for accountants means clients can do all this on their own time, with a self-service portal. The best software will be compatible with all kinds of devices, meaning they can even check in on pertinent details of your engagement using a phone or tablet.
Helps build client relationships
If you pick the right accounting practice management software, it will include robust sales features including a CRM tool. CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a platform where you can log calls, emails and other interactions, take notes about a client and their organization, and even mark important milestones like birthdays, work anniversaries, etc.
These minor details may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things that can really impress clients and make them feel valued. For a prospect who’s comparing your firm to other options in your field, having a sharp recollection of their needs and situation can be the difference between winning the account or not.
Accounting practice management software helps win over customers
The clients you work with today probably have many different options for accounting services they could be working with instead. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate your expertise and the valuable service you provide, but it also means you might need to work a little harder to dazzle clients with top-notch customer service. The right accounting practice management software will help your clients work with you in a way more suitable to their needs and preferences, making them happier to do business with you and more likely to remain a client for the foreseeable future.